On Friday, as I anxiously awaited the end of the day when M and I would go to his parents' house to have his 5 year old daughter V for the weekend, something someone said struck me. That day, a conservative talk show host referred to Hillary Clinton's infamous "I could have stayed home and baked cookies" speech and explained that raising kids was much harder than working 9 to 5. Being that I have no children of my own, I doubted the validity of that statement. Little did I know the coming weekend would make me rethink that rush to judgement.
Though I'd spent a number of Saturday afternoons with M's daughter, I was still nervous as to how the weekend would go. I never could have anticipated that I would spend 2 days and 2 nights with a 5 year old on my lap, glued to my hip, and in my arms.
Nor could I have anticipated that V and her dad would be playing tug of war with me the whole weekend. Arguing over what percent each got of me while we watched TV together, over who got to sit in the middle and over who I belonged to. (I never felt so loved.) Every night, we stayed up much later than V's bedtime playing games, watching movies, having tickle fights and jumping on the bed -- so late it made me wonder which of the three of us was the 5 year old.
Each night, V cuddled up in bed with me until she got tired enough for M to put her in her own bed, and each morning at approximately 7AM (!!!), V came and crawled right back into my bed ready to wake me up. She and M had a good time playing with my camera phone before she did so, however.
We went on the Metro, to the mall and to the toy store, spent time at an arcade, painted pictures, danced around the house and did each other's make up. I got so used to being with her that it almost didn't phase me when someone said to us at the mall "Wow, she's almost as tall as her mom." (Almost!)
The weekend was more than I ever could have hoped for. On so many levels and in so many ways, it really felt like the three of us were a family. When V announced that she loved me (which she said on a number of occasions and to various family members) as she snuggled up next to me on our last day together, I just felt so content and I knew that this time it would be much harder for us to say goodbye. (In fact, V was positive that she was taking me home with her -- something I'm sure her mother would have loved!)
Needless to say that Sunday night, I slept like a baby - though even in my dreams, I was sad that V wasn't with us. I don't think I was ever so exhausted or so grateful (in my whole life) to have a Monday off of work than I was today. When M called this morning, after I woke up after 10AM (drained beyond belief), he said, "So, do you still want to have children?" I said, "Yes, I'll just sleep all day while they are at school." "What will you do for the first 5 years?" he asked.